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Artful Adelaide

Two new reference books
by
June 2024, no. 465

The Adelaide Art Scene by Margot Osborne

Wakefield Press, $120 hb, 743 pp

Book 2 Cover Small (400 x 600)

AGSA 500 edited by Rhana Devenport

Art Gallery of South Australia, $69 hb, 543 pp

Artful Adelaide

Two new reference books
by
June 2024, no. 465

Studies of ‘regional modernisms’ have frequently framed the non-metropolitan in strictly Northern Hemisphere terms, construing London or New York as centres of innovation, and cities and towns further afield – but still in the same country or region as those art-world capitals – as the belated adopters of phenomena that are often perceived as the province of metropolitan actors and audiences. Margot Osborne’s monumental volume The Adelaide Art Scene: Becoming contemporary 1939-2000 tells a far more complex story of modernism’s reach, impact, and legacies in twentieth-century art practice. In forensic detail, Osborne and her contributors explore the ways in which modernism’s significance was expressed in and affected a city that found itself both connected to and rival with Sydney and Melbourne, as well as with the established international centres. Whether through the training or travel of artists who called South Australia home at one point or another in their lives, Adelaide has been an important node in those movements for longer than many might imagine.

As Osborne writes in her introduction, the book’s ‘primary focus is on the cultural history of Adelaide’s networks of artists, galleries and societies’, and on their role in relation to the ‘fostering, the development and public appreciation of modern art’. Proceeding through a chronological investigation, Osborne provides overviews for each of the six decades covered, and has marshalled sixteen further contributors, whose case studies allow the book to zoom in and out from the general to the highly specific; chapters range in their focus from migrant artists in the postwar period, to the impact of the Adelaide Central School of Art in the 1980s, to Osborne’s own fascinating work on South Australian photography in the last two decades of the twentieth century.

The Adelaide Art Scene

The Adelaide Art Scene

by Margot Osborne

Wakefield Press, $120 hb, 743 pp

AGSA 500

AGSA 500

edited by Rhana Devenport

Art Gallery of South Australia, $69 hb, 543 pp

From the New Issue

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